Textbooks often mention decomposers only in passing, but Decay and Renewal: Teacher Edition presents a clear picture of this essential group of organisms. This teachers' guide supports that student handbook with background information, safety precautions, assessment ideas, and guidelines for focusing student inquiry and skills development within the protocols.
In a readable, well-written format, this book presents decomposers accurately and in rich detail. Not content with facts, the authors also present extensive protocols for study of the biology, chemistry, and technology of decomposers in the field and in the lab. Observational methods as well as quantitative laboratory isolation and manipulation regimes are presented in detail rich enough for upper high school or introductory college classes. High-quality drawings allow student researchers to learn about and investigate the functioning of these organisms, and the interrelationship between science and technology is almost seamlessly woven together. Reproducible data collection and organization sheets are included to facilitate research.
Teachers will encounter a few minor problems with the student text. For example, the author's treatment of photosynthesis is light and may cause misconceptions. The teacher edition includes the student lab manual and fills in some of the gaps. It also includes useful information on data analysis and reagent preparation, as well as safety guidelines.
Sample answers to the discussion questions in the student edition as well as sample multiple choice and true/false test questions are included. The strength of the assessment components of this program is in the performance criteria and assessment rubrics, which will help meet student skills development and independent inquiry goals. The philosophy of a research-based inquiry program, not traditional confirmation "experiments," flows throughout both editions of this book. It fleshes out the student edition and provides a great source of protocols.